The C.A.S.P.E.R. Approach

The measurement of space should not be mistaken for the nature of space.  Space must be measured archaeologically, by layers.  At haunted sites, these layers consist of cultural uncertainties that are mixes of historical periods.  Thus, “haunted space” must be sensed and investigated “ethnographically”, not physically measured or perceived subjectively!  This “sense” is the understanding of a “ghost culture”, a fragmented version of what once was.  This “ghost culture” is a past performance, not a “paranormal” event!

Time is another consideration at haunted locations.  It is not linear!  It is also archaeological.  There are entanglements of pasts and the present with absences of historic periods and different socio-cultural behaviors in the mix.  The past is not past!  It is not simply gone!  It percolates.  It unfolds.  We view this today as a “haunting”.  This is an archaeological metaphysics!!

In “swapping” properties (absence/presence; past/present) with linear measurements through readings on technological devices, the actions of the past shift from one “entity” (past human cultural behavior) to another (a physical “anomaly”).  What are “ghost hunters” hunting, anyway?  Is it an anomaly (a usually phantom presence registered as a “deviant” measurement), or a “ghost” (a dead human cultural being)?  If it is the former, shouldn’t we change the concept to “anomaly hunting”?  If it is the latter, it should be called a “ghost excavation”, not a “hunt”!

I “unearth” ghosts by historical and socio-cultural layers.  I do not “hunt”, by focusing on recording and measuring anomalies in physical, horizontal space!  In a “ghost excavation”, I am changing the direction of ghost research from a horizontal spatial frame to a vertical one, one that is symmetrical and unfolding!  This alters the perception of “haunted space”!  I am NOT “throwing-out” the technology with this direction shift!

But, so long as ghost research is stuck on “tech toys”, field investigators are haunted by physical science scenographies that consist of measuring anomalies in horizontal haunted contemporary space!  This will not help us to understand the cultural behavior that lies beneath the haunting.  A new philosophy of data is needed which involves other modes of engaging the presence of material cultural remains in haunted space.  I am interested in contextual cultural manifestations NOT past presence!

The actions of contextual cultural behavior, not our instruments, combined with a different notion of time (one that percolates) and space (symmetrical and layered), calls for modes of investigative engagement which can manifest some of the complexity, multi-dimensional nature, and cultural uncertainties in haunted space.  A “ghost excavation” unearths the multi—cultural ensemble that is the real material world of a haunted site!

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